Missing the right chocolate for your recipe? Don’t worry! You won’t be left without a replacement.

Between chocolate chip cookies, chocolate truffles and chocolate-dipped strawberries, it’s safe to say that chocolate is an important ingredient for a lot of our favorite sweet-tooth-satisfying desserts. But what happens when the recipe calls for an ingredient that’s missing from the pantry shelf?

With so many different types, forms and flavors of chocolate, it won’t take long for you to find a suitable substitute. To make things easier, we’ve created a chocolate substitution guide that has everything you’ll need to know. We’ve also included a few definitions of chocolate-related terms for good measure. Browse through our guide below to satisfy your cravings and indulge in no time!

Types of Chocolate

One thing that’s certain is that chocolate is delicious in all of its different shapes, sizes and flavors. As a common ingredient that comes in different varieties, it can be difficult to distinguish where you can substitute different types of chocolate for one another.

To find out, it helps to start with one important question: “So, what is chocolate made of anyway?”

Well, it all starts with cacao beans. The flavor and type of chocolate is then determined by the treatment of the beans and the types and amounts of additives used. Choose the perfect type of chocolate for your recipe and find out what your chocolate of choice is made of below.

unsweetened chocolate

Unsweetened chocolate is a bitter chocolate that’s only used for baking.  Made of exclusively cacao butter and cacao solids, the flavor of this chocolate isn’t fit for eating on its own. It’s often found in cake, brownie and cookie recipes. 

dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains a high percentage of cacao (at least 35%). It’s also made with small amounts of sugar and little-to-no milk product. Because it’s sweeter than unsweetened chocolate, but still low in sugar, it’s a favorite dessert of those who are more health conscious. It’s also delicious in cookie recipes. 

bittersweet chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate is a dark, sweetened chocolate that also contains at least 35% of cacao. Bittersweet is most commonly used for baking and is perfect for recipes where chocolate is the most prominent flavor. 

semi-sweet chocolate

Semi-sweet chocolate is the most versatile form of chocolate. It’s most commonly used for baking and eating and is made with at least 35% cacao. Cocoa butter and sugar are added as well. Most chocolate chip cookies recipes call for this type of chocolate. 

milk chocolate

Milk chocolate is a sweet chocolate that contains at least 10% cacao with added sugar and cacao butter. This may be the chocolate you’re most familiar with, as it’s most commonly used in cookie recipes. It’s also a popular choice for candy bars and snacking chocolate. 

white chocolate

White chocolate is technically not a true chocolate because it doesn’t contain cacao. Although it’s commonly called a chocolate, this sweet treat is made by combining cocoa butter with sugar, milk solids and flavoring.

Between unsweetened, bittersweet, milk, white and dark chocolate, it can get confusing to know when to use what in your recipes. Now that you know what you’re working with, it’s time to figure out when you can use the different types of chocolates interchangeably.


chocolate substitute

Ready to indulge? Take a peek at our baking tips to help get you started. If you’re not fully set on putting your apron on and getting busy in the kitchen, you host the party and we’ll bring the chocolate treats!